MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The Newberry College baseball team completed its final tuneup before the South Atlantic Conference Tournament in fine fashion, as the Indians defeated the Bobcats of Georgia College and State University, 11-3, at John Kurtz Field on Tuesday.
Newberry (20-25) was led offensively by four RBIs from first baseman David Tunstill (Melbourne, Fla.), while John Kirkland (Orlando, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a 2-for-5 night.
The Indians jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the top of the first, as all nine batters stepped to the plate in the frame. Phillip Bartz (LaCrescent, Minn.) was hit by a pitch and Jovan Rohena (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) and Nick Martin (Morehead City, N.C.) hit back-to-back singles to load the bases with none out.
Tunstill's two-run single and a run-scoring single from Kirkland put the score at 3-0, while an RBI groundout from Chad Perschbacher (Makanda, Ill.) pushed the lead to four runs. Kirkland scored on a wild pitch to end the scoring in the inning.
GCSU (26-21) put a run on the board in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Pete Paris.
Newberry pushed the lead to seven runs with three in the top of the fourth. Bartz's double with one out was followed by a single from Rohena and a run-scoring single from Martin. Tunstill's RBI double down the right field line put the Indians up 8-1.
The Bobcats answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run double from Chandler Snell, making it 8-3.
But Newberry would shut out the hosts for the next five innings to pull off the win and the season sweep. Travis Howard (Columbia, S.C.; ND) allowed three runs, all earned, on six hits in 3.2 innings of work, striking out two but earning no decision. Chris Roman (Kissimmee, Fla.; 2-0) got the final out of the fourth and threw 2.1 innings of effective relief to pick up the win.
Casio Grider (Hephzibah, Ga.) took advantage of GCSU's generosity in the top of the fifth, making his way home on a walk, a throwing error by the pitcher, a steal of third and scoring on a wild pitch.
Newberry wrapped up the scoring in the top of the eighth, as two runs scored on a fielder's choice from Tunstill. Brandon Mand (Laurinburg, N.C.) kick-started the rally with a leadoff pinch hit triple.
The Indian bullpen was strong in the win, pitching 5.1 innings, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out five.
Newberry resumes play Thursday in the first round of the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament at Bears Field on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C. The fifth-seeded Indians will take on second-seeded Carson-Newman College at 3:45 p.m.